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Our History

Growing Home’s farms are the first and only USDA-certified organic high-production urban farms in Chicago.

Growing Home has been operating a social enterprise in the Chicagoland region for over 15 years. We have worked in Englewood, an underserved community on Chicago’s south side, for over a decade, and we believe that urban agriculture, combined with local food enterprise, can be a catalyst for change.

Growing Home’s first plot of land was acquired in Marseilles, IL in 1998 through the McKinney-Vento Act, which allows for the use of federal surplus land for nonprofits working with disadvantaged populations. This site, later named the Les Brown Memorial Farm, served as one of our primary training sites for Production Assistants for many years.

In 2005, Growing Home began discussions with the City of Chicago and Teamwork Englewood about developing an urban farm in the Englewood neighborhood. Our Wood Street Urban Farm was fully operational by 2009, a four-year process that convinced City lawmakers to amend the zoning ordinance and formally allow urban farming in Chicago. In 2011, Growing Home broke ground on another farm, on Honore Street, adjacent to the Wood Street Farm. Together, the Wood Street and Honore Street Farms provide .87 acres of cultivable land and are the center of our programming. In 2012, our work at these farms earned Growing Home the prestigious Chicago Neighborhood Builders Award.

We are proud that, because of Growing Home’s pioneering efforts, urban farms have a greater opportunity to spring up around the city, bringing the benefits of fresh, local food to communities across Chicago.

Since our first year of farming, in 2002, we have operated our farms as a social enterprise, bringing in approximately 10% of our annual revenues through produce sales. 100% of this funding is used to continue our training program and to employ our Production Assistants.

At all our farms, Growing Home uses a combination of outdoor growing space and unheated hoop houses to extend our growing season through the cold winters, allowing us to harvest from March through December. With a small staff of trained urban growers, we harvest a wide variety of produce, from our baby salad mix and arugula, to collard and mustard greens. Our signature tomato production varies from unique heirloom varieties to the early slicer tomatoes that are perfect for fried green tomatoes. We now grow over 200 varieties of vegetables on our land.

Because we believe that all people and communities deserve to eat well, all our produce is grown, harvested, cleaned, and sold within a 20-mile radius.

The development of the Wood Street Urban Farm and Training Center set a precedent for the urban farms of the future. It's a model urban farming and training operation, both in Chicago and nationally.

Kathy Dickhut, Deputy Commissioner at the City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development

Support Our Social Enterprise

May—October
Saturday, 7:00 am–1:00 pm
1790 N. Clark Street

November—April
Saturday, 7:00 am–1:00 pm
2430 N. Cannon Drive

Wood Street Urban Farm

April—October
Wednesday, 11:00 am–3:00 pm
5814 S. Wood Street

May—October
Sunday, 10:00 am–3:00 pm
Logan Square Blvd. between Milwaukee and Whipple

November—April
Sunday, 10:00 am–3:00 pm
2755 N. Milwaukee Ave.

We fulfill wholesale produce orders for Chicago-area restaurants and distributors. Please email Renee, Farm Sales Manager, at rhowarth@growinghomeinc.org for more information.

To learn more about Growing Home’s summer CSA, please email info@growinghomeinc.org.

Locations

Wood Street Urban Farm
5814 S. Wood Street, Chicago IL
Open Wednesday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Honore Street Farm
5830 S. Honore Street, Chicago IL

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